Thoughts on Value

Adults Wearing Floaters in Kiddie Pools

Adults Wearing Floaters in Kiddie Pools Society today likes to setup kiddie pools, safe contained, none-threatening venues where people aren’t supposed to get hurt, have a hard time, feel uncomfortable, or be threatened. One very common example I see of this is how we take our faith and make it a spiritual kiddie pool. A kiddie pool is a shallow, unthreatening, harmless venue where kids can play out their dreams. Too many Christians make their faith a shallow, unthreatening, harmless place to play out their dreams for themselves, their friends, and their families. What’s the problem with that? Well this picture for one.

Is this how our work life looks? Our emotional life? Our intelligence? Our spiritual life?

 

Seriously, the problem with that is it’s not reality. No one lives in a kiddie pool. We live in a real world, that’s massive, and overwhelming, and can actually drown you in all sorts of ideas, concepts, fears, concerns, responsibilities, opportunities, and messages. You might say, “Well my reality is based on my faith in God.” My response to this is, “Great! Since you have faith in Him, your reality should be based on truth, and it’s not true that one can swim in shallow spiritual waters yet enjoy deep intimacy with God. One can have wonderful experiences, even highly emotional ones, but deep, truly life-transforming intimacy is impossible without truth.”  A business opportunity is not God’s blessing, no matter how much money stands to be made, if it leads to lying, stealing, cheating, and taking advantage of others. How can it be?  A quote is not wise just because it has words such as “love” or “God” or “best” or “beauty” if it promotes selfishness and the idea of loving your life most because that’s counter to what love really is. How can it even be considered wise?  A faith goal achieved, such as a dream house or a dream car or some prayer request is not automatically a blessing when received if it was obtained through lying, crazy debt, arguing, tricking, or manipulating. How can it be? But we don’t like to think about these things because then it becomes threatening, or judging, or uncomfortable. Deep thought is tiring and doesn’t always taste good. Exercise is tiring. But it’s good for you. Sweets taste amazing. But they’re bad for you. What’s the point? Living in the shallows may seem comfortable. But it’s bad for you. Shallow is Harmful. It’s very typical of us, especially those of us who have never been taught to truly think through context and circumstance, to take information at face value. This is not wrong or sinful or maybe not even harmful, but it is shallow, and shallow may be fine when the person feeding you is not malicious, but shallow always leads to gullible, and gullible is another word for foolish. Putting it that way, shallow IS harmful. Shallow is accepting anything that inspires, attracts, entertains, comforts, awes, or impresses us as automatically good. Not every inspiring quote out there is good, nor true, nor wise, and because it is neither of these, it follows that is not effective as well. Many ideas out there are selfish, self-preserving, and rationalizations of a person rejected. Many of the most famous philosophers became mad men! If you live by this person’s words what kind of life do you think will result? Shallow is accepting anything that inspires, attracts, entertains, comforts, awes, or impresses us as automatically good without taking the time to check the credibility of the originator. There was a time in Germany, the 1920s and 1930s, when quotes and ideas from the book Mein Kampf were the rage and spreading through social media. It would go on to sell more than 10,000,000 copies! Talk about popular. Talk about viral. Talk about attractive. Talk about impressive. It was so impressive, it catapulted the author to power, and that man was Adolf Hitler. And in his inspiring, attractive, entertaining, awesome, impressive book, he would write that the destruction of the weak and sick is far more humane than their protection and that there was a purpose in destroying “the weak” in order to provide the proper space and purity for the strong. When you look at the make-up of Hitler’s followers, you’ll find that not all were militaristic, stern, ruthless Nazis portrayed by Hollywood. You’ll actually find brave soldiers, honest-hardworking ordinary men, housewives, fathers, mothers, even religious people such as Christians, you’ll find the whole spectrum of humanity. And what united them? They were all reacting to the circumstances they were in. So much poverty, so much disillusionment, and now here was a guy giving them a new vision for a strong country and the idea of Germany’s historic destiny, and they were sold. Sounds wonderful right? Actually, as it would turn out, NO, because in his inspiring book, Hitler also gave them someone to blame for their misery: the Jews. Of course, as we know, this would lead to World War 2 and the loss of millions of lives, particularly millions of Jews. Inspiring, attractive, entertaining, comforting, awesome, impressive – deceiving, destructive, deadly. Many of life’s injustices have been committed by us, decent people, people on church pews, quote sharing, back-patting, but ultimately self-preserving, my-dream-first believing, adults in kiddie pools. What’s the point? Go deeper. Ask why. Search motives. Seek to truly understand. Don’t take information at face value. THINK. MEDITATE. STUDY. LEARN.  Also after this article, stop reading my blog and go read REAL books – and finish them. They do no one any good piled up. No one reads a book by osmosis.   Somewhere Along the Way… Somewhere along the way someone told us it’s ok to be shallow. That there are deep people and shallow people. Deep people are wise, and intelligent, and know a lot about serious things. Shallow people are happy to know what they know. But I’ve never spoken to anyone – not one – who didn’t know a lot about at least one thing. Some people know a lot about math. Some people know a lot about fashion. Some people know a lot about arts. Some people know a lot about cooking. Some people know a lot about theology. Everyone knows a lot about something. In other words, everyone has the capability and the capacity to know about something deeply. It is not a special ability to know something intimately, everyone can do it and does. The difference between, wise, foolish, and evil lies in our choice of what we go deep into. The little and big decisions we make on where to allocate our time, energy, and money will dictate where we will go deep in. If we have so much knowledge on showbiz news and can’t remember deadlines or  responsibilities, guess what? We’re deep in showbiz. We’re shallow in your responsibilities. If we know so much about business and extremely successful but don’t apply God’s word in our lives, guess what? We’re deep in business. We’re shallow in God. If we have sophisticated taste, and know what’s cool, and hot, the who’s who,  and what’s attractive but don’t know what’s wise, what’s true, and what’s honorable, guess what? We’re deep in the current culture. We’re shallow in wisdom. I can go on but you get the point: CHOOSE WHAT YOU GO DEEP IN. IT MATTERS GREATLY.    Go Deep The picture of a child enjoying the shallows of a kiddie pool is adorable. The picture of an adult doing the same things, acting the same way, is embarrassing. We need to go deep. What do I mean by deep? It means to have substance. To go deep means to seek the substance, the essence, of things. It is in this practice of seeking meaning and better understanding so we develop depth. And we have to choose where we go deep. We need to wisely and deliberately decide what substances we will fill ourselves with, what things we will make meaningful in our lives. Life cannot be lived as a compilation of shallow reactions to circumstances and stimuli. Life must be lived through a series of mindful, thoughtful decisions despite the circumstances and despite the stimuli.